Battle of the minds

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To encourage students towards achieving a better tomorrow, Mind Wars, a multiplatform knowledge program has announced an online GK Olympiad 2020. Senior vice president, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, Umesh Kr Bansal shares more with NT KURIOCITY

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY

Mind Wars is a multiplatform knowledge program which aims to reach one crore students from over 40,000 schools across India. This initiative is promoted by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, with an integrated app on the Zee5 platform to create the country’s largest knowledge database for kids in the schooling group. It offers an open platform for students to benchmark themselves against their peers on a national scale.

The program is designed after extensive research covering more than 5,000 school teachers and coaches. And they are focusing on using quizzes and puzzles, which are a great way of experiential as well as experimental learning for kids.

The quizzing under Mind Wars spans across a TV show, daily live competitions on their social media handles, a large bank of questions for practise and play on Zee5. And now they are coming up with India’s largest general knowledge Olympiad.

Excerpts from an interview

Q. Why did you decide to come up with the GK Olympiad 2020?

Olympiads have been a part of the school activities for decades. They are a widely accepted and respected form of evaluating and recognising the capabilities of school students.

Traditionally, Olympiads have been based on science and mathematics. With Mind Wars GK Olympiad, we are widening the scope and bringing in an Olympiad for general knowledge, a first at a national scale in India. This will open the gates of the competition for all students, even the ones not inclined to sciences. Students from classes 4 to 12 from all streams and any board can compete to be recognised at the school, state and national level. Children excelling in current affairs, culture and sports, polity, and civics now have an opportunity to sharpen and showcase their knowledge through Mind Wars GK Olympiad 2020.

Q. What are the various categories for the Olympiad rounds?

The national-level Olympiad consists of an online exam with 50 multiple-choice questions across different topics per class, such as – culture and sports, current affairs, environment and science, language and literature, geography and history, as well as polity, civics and governance.

Q. How will participants benefit from this Olympiad?

The process of learning begins for a participant when she or he starts preparing for the Olympiad. We have created a large bank of more than 30,000 pieces of content (questions, trivia, quizzes) for participants to go through and enjoy.

The participant then gets a chance to test their learning by giving practise Olympiads and finally the real test where they can compete at the school, state and national level to win prizes, medals, certificates and recognition. The entire experience is like a competitive exam that the kids are expected to appear for in their near futures.

It provides a ‘real learning’ platform, which bolsters the child’s knowledge, responsiveness, decision making, and competitive spirit.

Q. What about prizes?

There are more than 1000 prizes to be won, for a total of `1 crore. Cash prizes will be awarded to the National Top 100 Merit List students for each of the grades individually. We will also acknowledge the school and state toppers with medals and merit certificates.

Apart from the winnings, each participating student will receive a participation certificate and an analysis of their performance in form of a report card. This report card will help the student identify the subjects of her strengths and where they need to improve. It will also give them their national and state percentile, benchmarking their performance in each subject as well as in aggregate.

Hence, all students can benefit immensely from participating in the Mind Wars GK Olympiad 2020.

Q. According to you how important is GK for students?

In today’s fast-paced world, it has become imperative for students to go beyond what is taught inside the classroom. For holistic growth and development, they need to know what is happening around the globe. Inculcating interest in current affairs, economy, politics, etc, at an early stage will help them in their careers and in making informed decisions. It opens their minds, builds a perspective and allows children to become smarter.

Q. How does Olympiad 2020 intend to help students towards achieving a better tomorrow?

Mind Wars Olympiad 2020 provides a platform for kids to prepare and practise for quizzes before they play the competitive Olympiad. It also provides the opportunity for kids to re-try and improve their scores by letting them re-take the Olympiad at a later date if they are not satisfied with their scores. This is a crucial element in a child’s learning. We aim to provide them with an environment where they can grow infinitely, where their worth is not decided by a single exam. The idea is to give them a chance to learn from their mistakes, to boost morale and confidence. In this manner, the program is designed to encourage kids to pursue a goal of continuous learning and improvement.

Q. The Olympiad is formulated based on the results of a detailed survey of principals and teachers from across 5,000 Indian schools pan India. Tell us more about the survey.

Mind Wars is currently engaged with more than 30,000 schools across the country. This access helps us tap into the opinion of a large number of administrators and teachers on how we can make the program fun and enjoyable yet competitive and educative at the same time.

Q. How do you plan to conduct Olympiad exams under the current scenario?

Prioritising our student’s health, the Olympiad will be completely online. Participating students can give the exam on a date of their choice and from the safety of their homes. Students can register online on the Mind Wars website and prepare for the same through the study material in the Olympiad section of the Zee5 app.

Q. What is your vision for the children and youth of India?

We envision a future where children are smart in all aspects, rather than just being book-smart. We want to inculcate the idea that learning never stops, and that children are given ample opportunities so that they can unlock their true potential.

(The Mind Wars GK Olympiad 2020 offers six dates – November 22, 28, 29 and December 5, 6 and 12 on which the Olympiad will be held for all classes. To participate in Olympiad visit: https://www.mindwars.co.in/olympiad/)